Monday, April 12, 2021

Matilija Dam Project Update - Spring 2021

The biannual update meetings for the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project were held on April 1, 2021.   Meetings continue to be held remotely on Zoom. 

Ventura County Public Works Agency - Watershed Protection and its technical consultants provided a series of detailed updates on the Project’s technical and design planning efforts at 1:30 pm.  Then at 6:00 pm, representatives of the Watershed Protection, Matilija Coalition and other Matilija Project partners updated community members and stakeholders on the Project’s technical studies, design and implementation plans, funding efforts, CEQA analyses and other recent developments. 

The evening meeting was hosted by the Ventura River Watershed Council.  Meeting agendas, minutes, and presentations may be downloaded here: General Assembly April 2021 Meeting

The big news is the Santa Ana Blvd Bridge Replacement Project scheduled to begin this month (April 2021) with construction to be completed during this calendar year. The existing bridge will remain in place until its removal next year once the new bridge is ready to accept traffic after the wet season.  This is the first of the major downstream infrastructure upgrades necessary before the dam can be removed.

Several grants have recently been submitted to advance the final design of the project components.  There is a total of approximately $6.7m pending/in progress as of 3/30/21, with a recent positive outcome from the California Coastal Conservancy ($740k) for Camino Cielo Bridge Design, and FEMA ($61k) for dam removal engineering.  A $6.2m proposal to the NRCS for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)  requests assistance for improvements to the Robles Diversion Dam and levees.  A list of the current and pending grant requests are here.

As of March 30, 2021, a total of over $24M has been raised in grant awards since 2017.  

The question is always "when does the dam come out?"  

An aggressive schedule targets the dam being ready for the sediment flush by 2028, plus another 1-2 years for dam removal.  However, a period of up to 3 years is possible waiting for a wet winter with a storm event adequate to transport the fine sediment downstream to the ocean.  But of course there's a lot of uncertainty with the work to be done downstream first...

The new website provides information on all aspects of the project.  Details on each of the project components, progress on funding, etc will be updated as more information becomes available.


In the news:

Progress continues toward Matilija Dam removal, Ojai Valley News,  Friday, 09 April 2021


General Assembly April 2021 Meeting, Ventura River Watershed Council

Progress continues toward Matilija Dam removal, Ojai Valley News